Sport

All 12 boys and football coach trapped in Thailand cave 'found alive'

All 12 boys and football coach trapped in Thailand cave 'found alive'

The group had been missing since finishing football practice on 23 June and were found alive late on Monday after a nine-day search.

Ruengrit Changkwanyuen, a coordinator of the Thai contingent of the global diving team that located the boys on Monday night, said the boys were safe on high ground near an area known as Pattaya Beach.

But as the search operation enters into the next phase, options for rescuers appear limited. At present, the only way out of their refuge is by diving through the flooded caves, but the route is extremely challenging and none of the boys can even swim, much less scuba dive.

For now, all 13 are healthy and being looked after by the medics.

And so Rear Adm. Arpakorn Yookongkaew, commander of the Thai navy SEALs, told local media that they have been concentrating on supplying the boys with "easily digested and high-powered food with enough minerals".

Faith and prayer, as well as humour were very important to the miners at times when they doubted they would be rescued, Reygadas said.

"We found them safe".

The group is between 800 metres and 1km below the surface, and about 2km inside the cave.

A few days of relatively fine weather have given rescuers a window to prepare for the moment the boys eventually emerge from the cave. Diving gear will be used. The water in the cave is expected to rise.

Diver Mr Reymenants said that "Nnone of them can swim or dive so that's going to be a real challenge". "We needed better cooperation".

But Ben Reymenants, a Belgian diver who is part of the rescue team, said that a rescue operation must be mounted immediately to prevent the group from being cut off. They also were keen to get some food. They have muscle atrophy, they can barely stand up.

The priority now is to give the boys the necessary strength to get out of the cave.

"Thai officials were confused. We must bring the kids out before then", said Thai Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, according to the Bangkok Post.

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While the right shaft had not yet been found, diving through the cave passageways was not an easy way out. "For people who have never done it, it will be hard, unlike diving in a swimming pool, because the cave's features have small channels", Paojinda said.

The boys are seen by torchlight sitting on a ledge above water, responding to the divers that all 13 were there and that they were very hungry. "If the gear is lost at any moment, it can be risky to life".

Cave rescue experts said it could be safer to simply supply them where they are for now rather than trying to have the boys dive out.

The trapped boys are between ages 11 and 16 and are members of the Wild Boars soccer team.

The two divers who found the boys are from the United Kingdom.

Right now they can't do anything at all.

The last option of waiting for the monsoon to abate, could be protracted as the monsoon begins to bite.

The trapped footballers have been given minerals, food, water, and lighting. "We will take care of them until they can move".

Food may need to be sent in for at least the next four months, the military added.

The members of the Thai soccer team were discovered Monday by two British divers, Rick Stanton and John Volanthen.

Officials on Tuesday dismissed as speculation reports that the boys could be trapped for up to four months. A sign advising against entering the caves during the rainy season (July-November) is posted at the entrance. Tham Luang cave is one of Thailand's longest and toughest to navigate, with snaking chambers and narrow passageways.

Engineers have been pumping water out of the cave for a week and a temporary respite from the rains has lowered water levels.

"It's something that skilled cave divers spend hundreds of hours training for after they have already been open water divers for quite some time".


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